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SP50162: Governance, public policy and society

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2014/5
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Social & Policy Sciences
Further information on credits Credits: 6
Further information on unit levels Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Further information on teaching periods Period: Semester 2
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • COURSEWORK (CW 100%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment: Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
Further information on descriptions Description: Aims:
To explain the historical emergence of governance studies across different disciplines.
To explore how different governance theories explain contemporary transformations of states, societies & political economy.
To explain and critically evaluate the assumptions and narratives which underpin these 'governance theories', and how they shape our understanding of policy-making and political power.
To explain and critically evaluate the implications of governance studies for key aspects of policy analysis, such as knowledge and evidence; accountability; public authority and power.

Learning Outcomes:
By the end of this unit, students will have:
* Studied key texts relating to the analysis of transformations of states and societies in the contemporary world;
* Critically analysed the role of international, state and non-state actors and political institutions involved in policy-making at different institutional levels.
By the end of this unit students should be able to:
* Apply different methodologies to expand their knowledge and understanding of the political and social theory literatures adopted to explain different forms of governing societies in the contemporary world.

Intellectual skills:
* To think creatively and analytically
* To communicate an argument
* To critically evaluate and assess research and evidence as well as a variety of other information
* To synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding.
Transferable/Key skills:
* Essay research, preparation and writing skills
* Group work skills
* Policy research skills
* Presentation skills and verbal communication (i.e. oral presentations, seminar contributions)
Knowledge Outcomes:
* Theoretical basis of different concepts towards understanding governance and its analysis
* Knowledge of the current developments and contemporary research in the field of governance
* Identification of international issues pertaining to governing contemporary societies.

PART I: Contemporary transformations and the emergence of 'governance'

1. Introduction
-Why governance studies? What is government, governance, governing? The importance of 'complexity'
2. Changing institutions
- decentralisation, regionalisation, global (WTO; end of Washington consensus)
3. Changing mechanisms
- contracting, partnerships, 'privatisation', performance management, technocratization
4. Changing actors and roles
- corporate actors, Third sector, regulatory authorities, hybridization

PART II: Understanding and challenging governance narratives

5. Interpreting contemporary transformations - society-centred perspectives
Kooiman, Bang & the 'Roskilde school', network governance
6. Interpreting contemporary transformations - state-centred perspectives
Crouch, Streeck, and the (historical) institutionalists; Bevir and Rhodes
7. Interpreting contemporary transformations - critical perspectives
Dean, Rose & governmentality; cultural political economy & the 'Lancaster school'

PART III: From governance systems to governing processes

8. Knowledge and evidence as governance mechanisms
- evidence production as political act: case studies
9. The challenges of accountability, power, and political change
- locating power sources and networks: case studies
10. Constituting publics in governing processes
- governing as public purpose and institution of public authority: case studies
11. 'Governance' as approach and critique: implications for policy analysis and methods
12. Unit review and essay advice.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

SP50162 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences

SP50162 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences
  • THSP-AFM15 : MSc Wellbeing in Public Policy and International Development
  • THSP-APM15 : MSc Wellbeing in Public Policy and International Development

* This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2014/15 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2015/16 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2014/15.
* Programmes and units are subject to change at any time, in accordance with normal University procedures.
* Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.